The D.C. area might miss the brunt of a powerful storm predicted to dump nearly a foot of snow on Boston and New York City, but the District won’t dodge strong winds and plummeting temperatures that are accompanying the precipitation.
Between 2 and 4 inches of snow was forecast for areas north and east of the District, while the city was only in line for about an inch, National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Lasorsa said. But the forecast also called for winds between 20-30 mph and gusts up to 50 mph, and temperatures in the low 20s.
The snow should be out of the D.C. area by Friday morning, Mr. Lasorsa said, then “it will be very windy and very cold.”
“The temperatures are going to drop into the teens, but they’re not going up too much,” he said. “There will be some sun, but that will be canceled out.”
The cold snap won’t break any records. The lowest temperature recorded in the District on Jan. 3 was 3 degrees below zero, in 1877. The high and low average temperatures for this time of year are 43 and 29 degrees, respectively.
Mr. Lasorsa said temperatures should get closer to average beyond Friday.
“The weekend should be warmer. It will be in the 30s for Saturday and Sunday might get into the 40s,” Mr. Lasorsa said. “What you’re seeing is low pressure developing over us with precipitation rapidly intensifying. There will be more snow as it gets to New York, New England and that area.”
The storm dropped nearly a foot of snow in Michigan, and hundreds of flights in and out of Chicago O’Hare International Airport were canceled because of the half-foot of snow that fell around Illinois.
New York and parts of New England were expected to get up to a foot of snow, while Philadelphia could see as much as 7 inches.
Flights in and out of New England were affected Thursday evening, and Amtrak announced it would be running on a modified snow schedule Friday.
Le-Ha Anderson, spokeswoman for Dominion Power, said the company had been monitoring the forecast and was not expecting any operational issues caused by the bad weather.
“We expect some very, very cold temperatures, but as far as having enough electricity to supply customers through this cold spell we will be able to do that sufficiently,” Ms. Anderson said. “That said, we will have crews available and will respond as soon as we have any power outages.”
David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said crews were out on the road by noon preparing for the aftereffects of the weather.
“The challenge isn’t going to be the storm itself,” Mr. Buck said. “If the forecast holds true, the storm is manageable. It’s the wind and the cold on the backside.”
AAA spokesman Lon Anderson warned that residents could wake up to frozen locks or dead batteries, thanks to the cold.